Arbitrator John Wilson has released a decision casting doubt on
the appropriateness of the prevalent use of the material
contribution test for causation in accident benefit
In Kofi Agyapong v. Jevco Insurance Company, FSCO
A11-003445, among numerous other issues, Arbitrator Wilson was
asked to determine whether the claimant was entitled to a non
earner benefit and a housekeeping benefit as a result of his
involvement in a July 12, 2005 accident wherein he was struck as a
pedestrian by a pick-up truck.
Arbitrator Wilson found that while Agyapong's involvement in
the accident likely contributed to post accident complaints, there
was no credible evidence led on his behalf that would satisfy
either the "but for" causation analysis or the
"material contribution" test due to his extensive
pre-accident complaints, which remained quite similar following the
More importantly, for our purposes, Arbitrator Wilson reviews
the history of causation analysis in accident benefit matters,
citing Monks v. ING (90 O.R. (3d) 689) for the proposition
that the material contribution test is an alternative to the
traditional "but for" analysis when the latter is
unworkable. He then reviews subsequent case law including the
Supreme Court's decision in Clements v. Clements, 2012
SCC 32,  2 S.C.R. and more specific to accident benefit
claims, Blake v. Dominion of Canada General Insurance Co.
 O.J. No. 1218, both of which indicate that
the "but for" test remains the default causation analysis
in negligence and accident benefit matters.
While the "material contribution" test has been widely
regarded as the go to analysis for causation in accident benefit
matters, it appears that utilizing it as the default test may be
misguided, especially in light of the Court of Appeal's
decision in Blake v. Dominion of Canada General Insurance
Co., supra. In that case, the Court of Appeal upheld the
decision of Brown, J.A. which utilized the "but for"
analysis as the default causation test in the absence of a request
of the trial judge to depart from it. The implication is
clear, without a request and reason to depart from the "but
for" test, it should remain the default causation analysis,
even in accident benefit matters.
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